BARCELONA

Last chance saloon for Griezmann, Dembélé & Coutinho

The players who were brought in using the Neymar money ...Coutinho, Dembélé and Griezmann face a challenging season with expectation weighing heavy on the trio.

Philippe Coutinho's agent, Kia Joorabchian has stated that his player is staying put at Barça, Antoine Griezmann earlier this week claimed that his future “lies with Barcelona” and despite no official declaration, Ousmane Dembélé appears to be going nowhere given the absence of suitably lucrative offers for the French player with the Catalan club having to pay Dortmund an additional 30 million euro should they sell the player before the end of the season 2020-21.

This trio cost the Catalan club some 400 million euro with the revenue generated from the sale of Neymar to PSG covering much of the outlay. As yet the investment from the 222 million euro secured from selling Neymar has seen Bartomeu fail with the big money trio failing to deliver on the pitch in the azulgrana shirt.

Dembélé arrived at the Nou Camp in the summer of 2017 with Barcelona paying Borussia Dortmund 105 million euro for his signature. The French winger's spell in the Catalan club has been far from smooth with personal issues adding to the complexity of his three years with the club. Injuries have plagued the winger who promised so much and at present the Frenchman has been out of action since the end of November last year following a complex hamstring issue that required surgery. With no offers on the table, the player will now try and convince new Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman that he has a role to play in the new season with Ansu Fati eclipsing the French international and very much ahead of the 23-year-old in the first-team pecking order.

A mutual agreement between Barça and Liverpool meant that the official transfer price between both clubs for Coutinho's transfer was never made official, it's widely accepted however that the fee for the Brazilian was roughly 160 million euro. The midfielder moved to Camp Nou in the winter market in 2018 and after a bright start ended the 2018-19 poorly with the Barcelona fans making their feelings felt about his performances at the end of the season. The Catalan club decided to send the Brazilian out on loan to Bayern Munich. There was hope in the Coutinho camp that a significant bid would emerge from the Premier League but the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a cutback on major financial outlays and everything suggests that the 28-year-old will be spending the 2020-21 campaign at Camp Nou,.

Griezmann completes the big money trio and the feeling is unanimous that the French striker significantly disappointed in his first season wearing the Barcelona shirt. Barça paid 120 million euro for his services buying out his Atletico Madrid contract. Despite showing a willing to work hard, the player has been far from happy at Camp Nou with being forced to play out of position a key factor. The Frenchman was hoping to make a splash with his new club but as the season wore on the player delivered a series of discreet performances and failed to convince.

Final throw of the dice

The new season offers all three players a chance to prove themselves and aim to fulfil the expectations deposited in the trio prior to their Camp Nou arrival. Bartomeu is reported to have confessed to his colleagues on the board that the income generated from the Neymar sale has not been well spent with the purchases of both Dembélé and Coutinho deemed as failures. With the jury still very much out on the Griezmann acquisition with the 2020-21 campaign something of a match-ball for the 400 million trident.